I love the BPFC because it’s a shining example of how a business can thrive financially and at the same time be in service to the community. Our co-op provides services that directly impact our health and wellbeing, such as providing access to high quality, healthy food with a focus on local and organic; helping grow local food security by supporting local farmers; donating healthy food to those in need; and educating people to make healthier food choices. Our co-op contributes to environmental stewardship through prioritizing clean energy and reducing/reusing/recycling materials, and with its priority on local, it keeps $4.4M circulating through our local and regional economy instead of outsourcing those products from faraway places. The BPFC made over $165K in community donations in 2019 plus facilitated another $65K in donations from shoppers through CAUSE at the register . Can you think of any other local business that does this much to contribute to community well-being?
On top of all this, the BPFC is a thriving business run by talented employees who report high job satisfaction. We feel welcomed when we walk in the door, and we experience a sense of community and connection. Both my 13-year old daughter and my 86-year old mother light up when I suggest we go to BriarPatch, because it’s a pleasure to be there and there are so many great things to choose from. I love that our community has been working together for over 45 years to help craft what the BriarPatch Food Coop has become today, and that we have a strong foundation from which we can now broaden our reach and impact in our region.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR THE BRIARPATCH FOOD CO-OP BOARD?
I’ve benefited from BriarPatch Food Co-op since I moved to Nevada County in 2009. In those first years living here, whenever I completed my shopping, I would see the photos of the board members on my way out (remember where they used to be on the left of the exit doors?) and I’d feel grateful for their dedication in helping this community co-op thrive. When board member Kwong Chew encouraged me to run in the 2018 board election, I was a bit stunned. I didn’t have the business and financial background others on “the wall” had, but I did have a deep passion for community health and, by that time, strong roots in the local food and farm movement. I wanted to take my turn contributing to the BriarPatch’s success, and gratefully I was elected by our owners.
Three years later, I am more excited to run for my second term because I understand what a privilege it is be part of this amazing team! The board members that came before me worked hard to adopt policies and practices that clearly define the goals and expectations of BPFC while empowering the General Manager to execute these goals in any reasonable fashion that does not put the co-op at undue risk. As a board member, I help assess how well the co-op is performing and help refine policies that can further support its success. Although policies and governance may sound dry, it’s actually an inspiring process to see how staff rally together to rise to new challenges, create more impact and often exceed expectations to serve our community. With our upcoming transition to a multi-store model, I’m excited to help the co-op navigate this historic move.
WHY WILL YOU MAKE A GOOD BOARD DIRECTOR?
Despite my first impressions, I realize now that I don’t have to be a financial genius or successful entrepreneur to make a meaningful contribution to this team. While I continue to hone my skills reading P&Ls, multi-million-dollar projection budgets and market studies, I am happy to bring other assets to help round out our board.
Since 2010, I have worked in in the local food and farm movement (most currently as the Associate Director at Sierra Harvest), where I have gained a deeper understanding of the strengths and challenges we face in Nevada County in terms of access to fresh, local organic food. I have over 20 years of experience working in health promotion and community education, as I am a passionate advocate for self-empowerment for health and wellness. I spent four years living and working at The Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, California, where I was exposed to ideas and practices that help create more ecological resiliency and experienced what it was like to live within the concentric rings of natural systems. Most of my professional work has been executed within the context of a team and working collaboratively to meet common goals. My life experiences have shaped me in such in a way that I feel comfortable risking my own vulnerability to speak my mind, but also understand that my viewpoints can be influenced by my own biases and blind-spots.
In the end, my experience on the board has taught me that having a deep commitment to the health and resilience of our community, bringing my focused attention and reflection on monthly board reports, and a holding a vision for what is possible for BPFC are some of the best ways I can serve our member-owners, and I hope to continue to have that privilege.
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
- 10 years cumulative experience serving as a board member for various organizations
- 10+ years active involvement in the Nevada County food and farm movement
- 20+ years working on collaborative teams to promote healthy people and healthy environment
- Strong leadership and communication skills
- Passion for community health and wellness